Little messages can have a big impact and banners that popped up around Nelson last week are proof positivity prospers.
Ursula Twiss facilitates an after-school arts group for girls at the Nelson and District Youth Centre. The idea for making banners with positive messages came from Miranda July, an American artist, filmmaker and performer whose endeavor Learning to Love You More is meant to inspire public art projects.
Twiss wrote the saying “be brave” on a white board at the centre during one of the Wednesday afternoon sessions and her girls became inspired, paired off and started creating.
“It was fun. We were covered in sparkles,” she says.
The girls came up with the message content as they created the banners. Signs include sayings like “You are so brave” hung up outside of Oso Negro. One says “Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect” and another says “Always be yourself because everyone else is taken.” They are hung up in the 400 block of Baker Street. At the bottom of the Hall Street stairs in Herridge Lane, one says “Be Happy.” Other banners hang up at John Ward Coffee, near Kootenay Coop Radio and across from Ward Street Place on Victoria Street.
“They were really stoked to make these things and they were really stoked when I said we could put them out into the community and give them away,” Twiss says.
Calling themselves the “love ninjas” the girls enjoyed the almost secret sharing of their altruistic creations.
“They were attracted to the anonymity of it — that these things would exist and they might hear someone else say that they’d seen them and know they’d been a part of it,” says Twiss.
The NDYC facilitator shared with the girls a story of how a little message can have a positive impact. When living in Vancouver, the saying “Everything is going to be alright” lit up on the top of a building had cheered her up on a terrible day.
“I told them I really needed to see that. It was then that the girls really began to consider their audience,” says Twiss. “They’re a really kind group of girls and they’re at that age where they truly believe in picking somebody up.”
The donated materials came from Cowans and The Dollar Store — another altruistic act, says Twiss.
Called Spark!, the group for 12 to 16-year-old girls runs from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the NDYC located on Lake Street.